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The United Nations and Decolonization

Statement of the Secretary-General


Secretary-General's message to the Pacific Regional Seminar on Decolonization
Yanuca Island, Fiji, 28 November 2006


Delivered by Ms. Karina Gerlach
Chief, Decolonization Unit, Department of Political Affairs


It gives me pleasure to send my greetings to all the participants in this United Nations Regional Seminar on decolonization. I thank the Government of Fiji for generously agreeing to host this event, and for doing so on short notice, thereby ensuring that a seminar in the Pacific would indeed take place this year. I also thank Fiji for its continuing support for the United Nations.

Much has been achieved in the decolonization effort since the early years of the United Nations, in particular since the adoption of the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the establishment of the Special Committee on Decolonization. However, as we all know, decolonization is incomplete, and 16 non-self-governing territories remain. It is the duty of the United Nations and the international community to bring this process to a successful conclusion.

Toward that end, the cooperation of the administering Powers will be vital if the Special Committee is to implement its mandate effectively. I am aware that the Committee has called for the use of my good offices to facilitate this process where needed. In the meantime, I reiterate my call on all administering Powers to show good faith and a willingness to implement the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations with regard to the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Tokelau's referendum in February was an important step in its quest for self-determination. The path followed by this small Pacific Territory, with the assistance of the administering Power, New Zealand, is an example of what can be achieved when there is political will and close cooperation between all parties concerned.

This will be my final message to you as Secretary-General. I thank the Special Committee and others committed to the process of decolonization for the support they have given me throughout my tenure. I remain hopeful that your efforts will lead to a revitalization of the dialogue, and to a resolution of the outstanding issues. Please accept my best wishes for a productive seminar.